Director: Adrian Lyne
Stars: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Pena, Danny Aiello
Review by Brian M Sammons
Have you seen this movie? If not, then shame on you. Now I’m not going to get all up on you about it as I know quite a few horror fans out there who haven’t see this wonderful, weird flick and that I really can’t figure out. Maybe it doesn’t have the sexy name like Nightmare On Elm Street and the like and that’s why. I mean, Jacob’s Ladder doesn’t exactly scream “horror movie.” But it is one first rate terror movie. So if you’re a horrorhead who’s already seen this flick then congratulations, you’re not only ahead of the creepy curve but you know who good this film is. But if you have yet to see this movie then boy are you in for a treat, provided of coarse that you pick it up. So, let me do you a favor and tell you about it, see if I can’t entice you to give an oddly named movie like this a shot.
Jacob Singer is a postman, a caring boyfriend, an all around good guy, and a haunted Vietnam vet. And when I say haunted, I mean really haunted, like with demons and everything. Worst yet, beside the demons and all that, Jacob doesn’t know why he’s haunted. One day everything’s normal and the next he has faceless freaks stalking him and his girlfriend, and they’re getting danced-humped by bat-winged things at the club. Then there are the jumps to Jacob in Vietnam, and the jumps to him with his wife and child, and the jumps with him with a sexy, and perhaps evil girlfriend.
So are all these horrible and strange things that are happening to Jacob real, or is he just completely insane? Well that is the question behind this freaky flick. There is an intriguing mystery that has to do with Jacob’s time in Vietnam, the death of his young son, and without getting too metaphysical, it actually deals with the very nature of life and death. However that’s all I’m going to say about the story as this mystery has to be experienced first hand and I wouldn’t want to ruin that for anyone who hasn’t already seen it.
I will mention that the acting, direction, cinematography are all top notch, as good as any movie in any genre and that’s really important. Films that horrify often get a bad name, they are considered schlocky or lowbrow and sadly that is sometimes for good reasons. Now I love horror movies, even the silly bad ones, but many talented hacks think that all it takes to make a scary movie is some blood and knives. Worse yet are the ones that do fright flicks just to make a quick buck and have no real passion for horror. Jacob’s Ladder shows what can happen when people with skill and vision are allowed to tell their terror tales. Really, this is a great movie making, horror or otherwise.
Lions Gate has given this new edition a few new extras to go along with it. There’s a thirty minute making of featurette, an audio commentary with the director, some deleted scenes, and a theatrical trailer. Unfortunately that’s all the goodies there is on this Blu-ray, so while it’s not a total bare bones disc, it could have had a few more bells and whistles tossed in. Oh well, the important thing is that it’s a great movie with a good looking HD transfer. So based on that alone, consider this one highly recommended.